Labor/Portsmouth Peace Treaty Parade on September 23
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (September 2007) -- On September 23, 2007, Portsmouth will remember two grand city traditions: a salute to Labor, particularly the workers of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who form a critical part of the Seacoast economy, and the tradition of commemorating the Portsmouth Peace Treaty with a public celebration in September, the month the Treaty was signed. The Parade will assemble at the Parrot Avenue Municipal Parking Lot and begin at 2 pm. The Parade route winds through downtown Portsmouth (Pleasant St. to State Street, to Daniel, through Market Sq., Congress to Fleet, to State and back to Pleasant) before ending at Parrot Avenue. Community organizations, musical groups, clubs, teams, decorated cars and labor groups are invited to participate, at no charge.
The 2007 Labor/Portsmouth Peace Treaty Parade commemorates the Treaty of Portsmouth -- the first Treaty negotiated between two foreign powers on neutral US ground, an accomplishment for which President Theodore Roosevelt earned the Nobel Peace Prize -- and honors the men and women who make the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard the “gold standard” of Shipyards and the Seacoast’s police, firemen, teachers, nurses and others who the same for their trades.
In 1902, Portsmouth celebrated its labor force with a 2,000-marcher parade. Over 15,000 spectators lined the streets to applaud the trades. Then in 1905, the Seacoast welcomed the Russian and Japanese delegates to the Treaty of Portsmouth peace conference with a parade led by the New Hampshire National Guard.
In 1906 a Treaty commemorative plaque was installed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and in 1907, Treaty celebrations in downtown Portsmouth lasted all day.
In 2005, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, the New Hampshire Air National Guard hosted a “Welcoming Parade” that recreated their 1905 historic role as well as honoring those who serve. 2005 was also the year that the Seacoast turned out in a force of yellow t-shirts to “Save Our Shipyard” from BRAC closure. The 2007 Parade on September 23, 2007 will honor all of those traditions.
The Parade is organized by the Labor/Portsmouth Peace Treaty Parade Committee in conjunction with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Metal Trades Union. For more information and registration forms to participate in the Labor/Portsmouth Peace Treaty Parade, contact Parade co-chairmen Peter Somssich, 603-436-5221 or Paul O’Connor, 603-969-1799 or Stephanie Seacord, Portsmouth Peace Treaty Committee Information Director, 603-772-1835.
Parade supporters include the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee, Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, Japan-America Society of NH, Boynton, Waldron, Doleac, Woodman & Scott, PA, Leading Edge, Metal Trades Council, SEA/SEIU Local 1984, Norm Patenaude for City Council, Kathleen Somssich/Language Communications Services, Jean Gagne, Peter Somssich, South Church /UU, Portsmouth Democrats